Tuesday, December 09, 2008

NBC Cuts 10PM From Primetime and Adds Jay Leno to 10PM; ABC Adds Special Wipeout on Super Bowl Sunday; 2009 WGA Awards Nominees

It is now official...Jay Leno will not move on to ABC and stay with NBC, but with a twist ... in primetime! Jay Leno will host a new comedy/talk show on NBC five nights a week in primetime, beginning in the fall of 2009. The show will originate from Burbank, Calif., and will air Monday through Friday, 10-11 p.m./9-10 p.m. CT. This show will be the first-ever entertainment program to be stripped across primetime on broadcast network television.
Leno will sign off as host of The Tonight Show on Friday, May 29, 2009. His new show will showcase many of the features that have made Leno America's late-night leader for more than a dozen years. Signature elements will include his opening monologue and well-known comedy segments "Headlines," "Jaywalking" and "Battle of the Jaywalking All-Stars."
As previously announced, Conan O'Brien will take over The Tonight Show hosting duties on Monday, June 1, 2009, broadcasting from the state-of-the-art studio currently under construction on the Universal lot. O'Brien will continue an unmatched late-night legacy that includes Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, and, for the last 16 years, Jay Leno. Jimmy Fallon will assume the role of host of Late Night on March 2, 2009.
So what does this all mean? NBC is in terrible shape right now both in the ratings and financially. They have been stuck in 4th place in the ratings for some years now and recently many employees were laid off. With this move, NBC will slice off five-hours from their weeknight schedule and air the cheaper Leno series. The new Leno deal is up to 50 million a year for 5 years, while the show doesn't cost too much to produce so NBC will benefit from a financial aspect in this hour as shows like Law & Order and ER cost a lot to produce. This means many primetime shows on NBC could be cut next fall. Many of them could be veteran series. Nothing has been officially announced as dead yet but series such as Kath & Kim, My Name is Earl, Knight Rider, Life, and Friday Night Lights could be cut, while Chuck, Medium, and the original Law & Order series could go either way. ER is already ending this season, so that will obviously be gone, while Lipstick Jungle is canceled and the cheap Crusoe is also canceled despite low production costs but the ratings were terrible. And if Heroes continues its downward trend, NBC could cut it also as that series costs a lot to make. Law & Order: SVU, The Biggest Loser, The Office, are some of the series likely to remain on NBC.
There is word also that NBC could give Saturday nights back to their affiliates to program. So that would be another three-hours that NBC could lose. As of now, they will only program 17 hours a week, and could be as low as 14 if they lose Saturday. That would be lower than Fox, which has 15.
What do I think? I think this is great for Jay Leno and I am happy for him but what is NBC thinking? I know they have to cut costs and stuff, but there is no way they can expand on finding hits without the 10pm hour. Leno gets 4 million or so in late night and will likely go up a bit in primetime, but every weekday it will get tiresome. Leno will have to face entertainment dramas and not go up against similar late night shows. This also could hurt NBC's other late night shows, as now they will have yet another one. They already have The Tonight Show, Late Night, and Last Call. Four talk shows in one night? You can expect ABC and CBS's 10pm shows to rise next fall without NBC. It is still not known though if NBC will even count Leno's series in their primetime averages. NBC's 10pm shows the last few years have been a bright spot for them with series such as Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order, Medium, and even ER doing higher ratings than anything from 8-10pm. It is not a guarantee they can just move down an hour and generate the same ratings. Law & Order moved to Wednesdays at 9 a few years ago and got crushed by Criminal Minds on CBS, and was quickly moved back to 10pm. NBC has made some weird moves lately and have already back-fired. Last development season, they eliminated the expensive pilot process, a move that saved money but backfired after all of its fall shows flopped, such as My Worst Own Enemy. They picked-up series without actually seeing a pilot. Also, their "infront" last April was a total bust. They announced line-ups for Fall 2008, Winter/Spring 2009 and Summer 2009 in advance, and ended up changing the schedule around anyway. What is the point to all this NBC? Stick with tradition and get yourself back on track by trying to find quality shows instead of giving up. Just my two cents.

The news gets worse for NBC. ABC has announced it plans to counter program NBC's Super Bowl entertainment telecasts with a sports-star-studded episode of the summer obstacle-course megahit Wipeout.
ABC will air a brief football-themed Wipeout special against NBC's official halftime show headlined by Bruce Springsteen. Then, during NBC's post-Super Bowl presentation of The Office," ABC will air an hour-long Wipeout in which cheerleaders compete against male "couch potato" sports fans.
The two-part ABC special, "Wipeout Superball Sunday," pulls out all the stops to cater to NFL fans: Hall of Famer Michael Irving will lend sideline commentary, the Navy's Blue Angels will perform a flyover, the USC marching band will storm the course, contestants will run a gantlet with quarterbacks pelting them with footballs, NFL luminaries will stop by the commentary booth, and the show's signature Big Balls obstacle has been converted into jumbo-sized footballs, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The special is one of the most ambitious Super Bowl Sunday programming plans ever mounted by a non-host network. Yet for the reality show's producer, Endemol, it's familiar territory. In 2002, NBC enjoyed some of Fox's big game thunder by airing a special episode of the Endemol-produced Fear Factor featuring Playboy Playmates as contestants against the halftime show. Fear Factor did 11.4 million viewers that night. The family-friendly Wipeout could attract even more.
ABC plans to air repeats of Wipeout against the game directly itself, with AFV encore from 7-8pm ET. The Super Bowl starts at about 6:30, and the halftime show will likely be around 8pm so the Wipeout halftime special will air then, then they will air two Wipeout repeats from about 8:30ish-10:30ish, before the hour Wipeout special at about 10:30 against The Office. Wipeout will return as a series this summer for a second season. Goodnight and big balls!

Finally, we leave you today with the nominations for the 61st Annual WGA Awards. Comedy wise, 30 Rock, Entourage, The Office, The Simpsons and Weeds were nominated for their writing work. While Dexter, Friday Night Lights, Lost, Mad Men and The Wire took writing nominations for dramas. Among the other categories, Life on Mars and Breaking Bad were among the nominees for best new series, Ugly Betty, Eli Stone, 30 Rock, and The Office were among the nominees for actual episodic writing.
View the full nominees.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, May 24

The Big Bang Theory - "The Gates Excitation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Penny gets the opportunity to host Bill Gates at work when his company wants to partner with her pharmaceutical company. Also, Leonard, Koothrappali and Wolowitz do everything in their power to meet him, while Sheldon thinks he is the victim of an April Fools prank.

Young Sheldon - "A Computer, A Plastic Pony, And A Case of Beer" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon asks for a computer and unknowingly sparks a heated argument between Mary and George Sr. over the family’s finances.

Mom - "Fancy Crackers and Giant Women" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bonnie suffers withdrawal after giving up cable TV to help Christy pay for her law school applications, and the women rally around Jill after she has a breakdown in her favorite department store.

Life in Pieces - "Settlement Pacifier Attic Unsyncing" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When the entire Hughes family moves into John and Joan’s home after their kitchen is destroyed, their presence creates chaos for Joan. Also, Matt and Colleen are set to receive a huge monetary settlement from Colleen’s fall off the motel balcony on their wedding night; John tries to get Sophia back on track when she starts misbehaving; Tyler and Clementine make a surprise announcement to the family; and Jen and Greg attempt to persuade Lark to get rid of her pacifier.

Nobodies - "Alone Star State" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Mark-Paul and Rachel attend the Independent Spirit Awards together; an unassuming Hugh joins Larry in Austin, Texas, to teach unauthorized Groundlings-style seminars to a group of Texas businesspeople.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 21)

Thursday, May 24

  • Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project/The Office) - Catch Mindy on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/The Office) - Ellie appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ted Danson (The Good Place/Becker/Cheers) - Ted is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig visits Conan at 11pm on TBS. She will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne/The McCarthys/The Big Bang Theory) - Laurie stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Kelsey Grammer (Frasier/Cheers) - Kelsey chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Amy and Nick are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jussie Smollett (On Our Own) - Jussie appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane talks about Red Nose Day and Hollywood Game Night on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Daphne Maxwell Reid (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Eve/Let's Stay Together) - Daphne makes her mother Rosalee's waffles on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Oliver Hudson (Splitting Up Together/Rules of Engagement) - Oliver is a guest on a repeat of Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings/Step by Step) - Christine is part of the panel on a repeat of Steve, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March/April/May)

Atlanta - The Complete First Season Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season One Day at a Time - Season Two Perfect Strangers  - The Complete Third Season Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Final (Eighth) Season

03/06 - Atlanta - The Complete First Season
03/06 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season
03/13 - The New Adventures of Old Christine - The Complete First Season
03/27 - One Day at a Time - Season Two
04/03 - Ballers - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/03 - 90's Sitcom (Just Shoot Me!/The Larry Sanders Show/Wings) Starter Set - Season 1 & 2 Bundle
04/10 - Vice Principals - The Compelte Series
04/17 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Third Season
05/08 - Dear White People - Season 1
05/08 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Final (Eighth) Season
05/29 - I'm Dying Up Here - Season 1
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest